Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Tea with a Goddess

Yesterday was my birthday.

Twenty years ago, on my birthday, I decided to visit the Kuan Yin temple on the outskirts of Portland. Kuan Yin is sometimes described as the goddess of mercy and compassion. She is often depicted holding a vase in her hand, which is filled with the nectar of compassion that she pours out over the world. She has always been special to me, like a guardian angel.

I had never been to the temple before. It was a weekday, and when I got there, no one was there and the door was locked. But as I turned to walk away, a Chinese man came to the door and opened it. He was dressed casually. I told him why I was there and he graciously invited me in. He allowed me to go into the main room and sit in meditation for a short time. As I got up to leave he returned, now dressed in monk robes. Turns out he was the abbot of the temple. He gave me a little bracelet and a prayer card for my birthday.

I wanted to go back to the temple for my birthday yesterday, but when I went online a few weeks ago to check their website, I saw they are closed now because of Covid. I sent a message, explained my earlier visit, and asked if it would be possible for the abbot to light some incense for me and say a blessing for me on my birthday. Someone (a volunteer?) answered, and told me that the abbot would be pleased to do that. Turns out the abbot is the same man I met twenty years ago. I sent a donation to the temple, and in return I got a little package with another bracelet, and some tea blessed by the abbot. The volunteer also said that January 9 is the day they planned to offer prayers commemorating Buddha’s enlightenment and that it was therefore a very auspicious day. Yay.

So yesterday, I opened the packet of tea and made some. I offered a cup to the Kuan Yin who graces my living room (pictured) and sat at her feet enjoying this blessed gift. It was a perfect way to celebrate the day of my birth.

May the tea of blessing mix with the nectar of compassion to nourish all beings. Om mani padme hum.

12 thoughts on “Tea with a Goddess”

  1. esther elizabeth

    what a great story – what a wonderful blessing — May the tea of blessing mix with the nectar of compassion to nourish all beings.

  2. Yesterday, my family—especially my sweet sister who was finishing her earthly journey—needed a full measure of compassion. Your post is so comforting. I like to think that your prayer touched us.

    1. I’m so sorry about your sister, Caroline. I do hope the prayer touched you and your family with some needed compassion and support.

  3. Such a beautiful story Galen. I felt a sense of calm just reading it. Thank you. Happy Birthday wishes too for yesterday. What a perfect way to mark the day.

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